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Signs of life in Delia

Delia, Kansas
What a lovely name.  Delia.  It's a small town in southwest Jackson County, population 169.  The town was named for Mrs. Delia Cunningham.  If I understand the history correctly, she was a shrewd woman who happened to be in the area and bought the deed to some land in 1892.  A few years later she doubled the price and sold it to her son.  In 1904 the Union Pacific Railroad bought some land from Delia's son to start the Delia townsite.
Delia, like many small towns, has few visible businesses but they do have character!  We were tickled to find these airplane parts and pieces on top of a garage.
It's easy to feel impersonal about a town when you don't have conversations and it's hard to have conversations without businesses.  Still, we saw a church, a chartered school, and this sign to remind us that there is a sense of community here.
A building that houses fire trucks lets you know that there are people willing to volunteer to take care of this important community service.
The moral of the story is to look for those signs of character and pride when you drive through small towns and realize that though it doesn't look vibrant from a drive-through, there are people who love their small town and are willing to work for the good of it.

Honoring Veterans

This memorial is found on the courthouse square in Holton.
Click here to read the Get Kansas! blog showing Veterans memorials in counties where we have ERV'd.
The Russell County Veteran's Memorial is found in Russell.

Punished Woman Fork Battle commemoration was a profound event

Scott City, Kansas
Jennie Parker's father was at the Battle of Punished Woman Fork when he was 14.  This was the first time she had been to this place so important in her family lore.
In 1878 the Northern Cheyenne Indians fled the Indian reservation in Oklahoma to go back to their homeland in Montana.  Soldiers pursued them and caught up with them in a place strategically chosen by the Northern Cheyenne, a place near current day Lake Scott State Park called Punished Woman Fork, aka Battle Canyon.  Things didn't go quite as planned.
Roll forward 135 years.  On September 28, 2013, more than 100 Northern Cheyenne, many descendants of those of the battle, came from Montana and around the country to commemorate the battle that took place in 1878.
For those who attended, it was a very special occasion.
Some of us were just moved by being close to the descendants who somberly took in the scene.

What were they thinking and feeling as they walked the grounds?
 The soldiers were represented, too.

There was a ceremony to bring all the sides to some healing conclusion.

Battle Canyon is open to the public.  It's just you, history, and this natural site.

Signage helps guide your thoughts.
The turn is just north of the U.S. 83 and K-95  intersection, about 15 miles north of Scott City.
Hats off to Jerry Thomas who spearheaded the event but also to all others who have worked to get national recognition for this site.
We went to this event while on our ERV research in Scott County September 28, 2013.
October 12, 2013
Ken & Nina Warren, Manhattan

There's a spot for you in Bennington

Bennington, Kansas
Bennington is a town of 671 in Ottawa County.
It's always nice to find good signage in a town.
But there's nothing better than getting the scoop from the guys on the bench.  And there always seems to be a place with guys on the bench, or at a table in the coffee shop.  After they look at you like you're a curiosity, you have a sentence or two to generate some interest.  It may lead to further joshing but usually, luck is with you and you can get down to some questions you really need answered.  It's always a fun challenge to win over the guys on the bench.

Bennington is fortunate to have a grocery store, Westside Ventures, which doubles as a cafe (specializing in broasted chicken) and the morning coffee stop.  Kansas Troubles Quilters is a popular retreat place
Often there are cool things that happen in a small town but you'd never know it from a windshield survey.  Bennington is home to a Kansas Figure Drawing Group as organized by Debbie Wagner.  The idea of the group is to invite a variety of Kansans to come in to be recorded through the drawings of this group.  It's pretty awesome. 

The Linger Longer is an old-fashioned soda fountain located in an old mercantile.   Sharolyn Wagner, a Dr. Pepper fan, and husband Don have done an amazing job converting the building into one of the top nostalgic experiences in the state, for locals and for visitors. 
If you want a place to relax and enjoy a small community, there's always a spot for you in Bennington.

Combines, water, and gravel roads in Ottawa County

Exploring the countryside almost always leads to unexpected delights.  Though we usually have a destination in mind, it is the journey that is simply the best.

We parked ERV sideways to show you how narrow my favorite, still-used vintage highway, Old, Old, Highway 81, is.
To get to this stretch of road, go approximately two miles north of Bennington on N. 180th.  Turn west on Granite and you'll find yourself on Old, Old 81.  About a half mile west of this intersection you'll find this marker in the ditch stating the road was built in 1922.
A little further down the road we came across a "situation."  Traffic (two cars) were stopped at N. 170 Road.  A county sheriff was there to help a farmer navigate the intersection as he unloaded a header onto the trailer that blocked the other side of the road.  It was one of those country scenarios you'd not see in a big city.  Lucky us!
On the other side of the combine was this appealing sight.  Ditches had been recently mowed, wheat was standing in one field and on the other side of the road standing rain mixed with wheat stubble.  Water was over the road in several places but we were able to cross and continue to Minneapolis.
Later on in our journey through the county...
Two reasons to dare to do dirt to this hilltop west of Delphos are to enjoy the expansive vista and to see the impressive memorial to Zeb Pike.  The granite plaque states that "Captain Zebulon Pike and exploring party passed near here on September 22, 1806 en route to the Pawnee Village (present day Republic Co.) to win tribal allegiance to the U.S."
Directions:  Starting on 5th Street (becomes Volunteer Road), go 3 1/2 mile west of Delphos, then 1 1/2 miles south on Ute to N. 52nd.  Go north about 1/2 mile to Victory Road and travel east to the hilltop.

On the back of the Pike Monument is this concrete map.

And here's the expansive 360-degree Ottawa County view from this peaceful summit.
On to Tescott...

A flagpole and gravestones puzzled us along a gravel road.  Does anyone know the story?
We had no idea there was a survey marker here so we sure appreciated the notice!
Jacob Lane took charge of the first post office at this town site in 1872 and named the town after his wife, Ada.   This abandoned school must have really been something.  The town is now unincorporated.

WPA (Works Progress Administration) workers found Ada, too, and built this bandstand in 1936.

Further down the gravel road we came to Culver, population 121.  You'll see evidence of a solid past here.

Yes, indeed, we get lots of strange looks from those wondering what our colorful car is doing out in the country.  We're just ERVing, getting to know the state so we can share it with all of you!
See you down the road!  Marci